Learning about learning
When one is used to working and cultivating a collaborative group that readily shares information, it is a rude awakening to return to the land of silos and secrets. I recently worked on a project where command and control was the [unspoken] expectation, and as part of my needs assessment, I DARED speak with employees outside of L&D and was taken to task for it. "We don't do it what way around here. You must ask permission to speak to people in the business lines." Huh? I thought we were all on the same team here. The people I spoke to were fine with my inquiries, and I gathered some robust insights, but since I hadn't played "Mother May I?" I was reprimanded with an attitude of "How DARE you!" and those insights, I'm sure, will wind up in a dust bin.
It puzzles me. What are you so afraid of, folks?
The Way Things Could Work
While his model is about ever learning and always connecting to build a network on a personal level and the implications that has within organizations, Seek > Sense > Share functions well to describe what a needs assessment should be. It's an investigation (seek), looking for trends, making sense of them, then sharing your findings so that a solution can be developed to solve the problem at hand. Design thinking spends tons of time examining things first, ensuring that gaps are identified, and a solution created to fill them. Doing so ensures the right problem is solved.
Alas, not in this organization. It appears that the solution has been crafted before the problem has truly been uncovered. When you exist in a world where everything is guarded close to the chest it's really easy for mediocrity to perpetuated. You miss the perspective of the outsiders who almost always have valuable insights for you. When your focus is wrapped up on adherence to process, it's easy to forget what the process is for. When colleagues become snitches and tattle to ensure compliance with said processes, your problem is bigger than you think. When you stop looking around, it's easy to function on the hamster's wheel, always running and never getting anywhere.
I shudder, shake the dust from my feet, and return to normalcy. It's a much better place.
Teacher by training, learner by design.